Red lipstick ruled the red carpet and runways this past year making it one of 2014’s hottest trends. Almost every celebrity could be seen with a cherry pout. Among them was Taylor Swift, who loved the look so much that she wrote multiple songs with lyrics pertaining to red lipstick on her album, 1989. For example, in her catchy song “Blank Space,” she sings “cherry lips, crystal skies. I could show you incredible things.”
This bold lip colour has definitely left its mark on 2014, but it isn’t the first time that red lipstick has made an impact. Scarlet lips have a deep and rich history, dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. Women would use crushed gemstones for lip colour. Cleopatra VII also sported red lipstick, but hers was made of crushed ants and beetles–yuck!
Over the centuries, the popularity of red lipstick died down to the point where it was only deemed fit for prostitutes and lower class women. However, in the 1500’s, Queen Elizabeth I revived the trend, rocking a powder white face and scarlet lips. Unfortunately, the look lost popularity again in 1770 when British parliament passed a law against red lipstick, claiming it was a form of witchcraft that seduced men into marriage-can you believe that?
In the 1890s, the cherry pout made its triumphant return when the Sears Roebuck catalog started offering red lipstick. It also became the norm for actresses to don the crimson colour so their lips would stand out in black and white films. Finally, in 1915, lipstick was made available to all women via Maurice Levy’s invention, the metal lipstick tube.
Thanks to influential stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, scarlet lips remained popular through the 40s and 50s. Then in 1960, cosmetics companies began releasing new colours, such as nude, black and purple, bumping out red lipstick yet again. Madonna brought the bold colour back in 1980 when she wore M.A.C’s Russian red colour while on her Like a Virgin World Tour. Now fast forward to 2014, roughly 5000 years later red lipstick is still making a statement. Though we’re sad to kiss this trend goodbye, we’re confident that the crimson pout will return!